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Olympic medal record
Men's ice hockey
Gold 1980 Lake Placid Team

David Mark "Silky" Silk (born January 1, 1958 in Scituate, Massachusetts) is a retired professional American ice hockey forward who played 249 NHL regular season games for the Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers between 1980 and 1985.

Silk's father died when he was 8. He credits Ed Taylor—the maintainer of the local ice arena in Hingham, Massachusetts, near where he grew up—as a particular influence on his career. Taylor would pick up and drop him off after practices daily (Carroll). According to Silk “he became my surrogate father. My mother knew he’d take care of me, without him I’m not sure I would have ever even tried hockey”. After playing in the Youth leagues for many years Silk realized he had to play at a higher level of hockey if he wanted to make his dreams come true. Silk's Grandfather was Hal Janvrin(d.62) who played Major League Baseball for ten seasons from 1910 to 1922 winning two World Series with the Boston Red Sox and was an early teammate of Babe Ruth.

Contents

Amateur career

Silk attended Thayer Academy in Braintree, where he scored 85 points in his first season. He then moved to Boston University where he became teammates and lifelong friends with future Miracle on Ice members Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig, and Jack O'Callahan. Silk was a dominating force for the Boston University Terriers hockey team, earning all-tournament, athlete of the week, and First- Team-All- New England honors. He won the NCAA Championship in 1978 with Boston University, and was awarded New England Rookie of the Year 1976–1977.

Miracle on Ice

Many believe the most important accomplishment in David Silk’s life was the 1980 Olympics. The 1980 “Miracle on Ice” is known today as one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Team USA was made up of unknown college players. Many believed that they were a huge underdog going into the Olympics. The USA didn’t let any of the negative criticisms stop them from attaining their goals. They worked their way through the games and got into the medal round. They were set to play the Soviet Union. Going into this game, many Americans were scared for the team for numerous reasons. Team USA had lost to the Soviet Union in an exhibition game 10–3 that was held at Madison Square garden in New York City just days before this rematch in Lake Placid. The turmoil between the United States and the Soviet Union also added to the stress to the hockey game. Silk said “To us, it was a hockey game; to the rest of the world it was a political statement”. None of these factors phased team USA in any way.

Many say Herb Brooks, head coach of the team, had a huge impact on the team’s accomplishments. According to Silk “he was a master motivator known for impassioned speeches”. Brooks would tape clippings and telegrams on the wall to motivate the team before going out on the ice and playing the Soviets (Carroll). Silk said “of all the telegrams we had, the one I remember came from this woman in Texas, It read, I may not know anything about hockey but I want you guys to go out and kill those Commie Bastards. At that point we began to understand what this game meant to people”. David Silk and team USA played like they never had played before. They left everything they had on the ice of that Olympic Stadium, defeating the Soviets 4–3. “When the final buzzer sounded on that 4–3 victory, many Americans swelled with Pride” Silk said (Carroll). No one imagined that team USA would end up conquering the Soviet Union hockey team in such a fashion. Two days later the young American team defeated Finland to clinch the gold medal coming from behind as they had done in every game in the tournament but one.

After the unbelievable upset that lead to the gold medal, one might ask where would you put such a prized possession? When Silk was asked he said “my gold medal is in a safety box at a local bank and my jersey is around the house somewhere”. Soon after the gold medal win, National Hockey League Teams were contacting “anyone wearing a Team USA jersey” (Carroll). The next step in David Silk's life was getting the chance to make a childhood dream turn into a reality.

Many years after the 1980 Olympic gold medal game Herb Brooks was in a fatal accident. He was leaving a charity golf tournament in his home state of Minnesota (Carroll). Silk said “every player from the 1980 team made it to the funeral. That was a very tough time for everyone”. Brooks had a huge impact on those “young college” hockey players and made them along with many people believe that nothing is impossible.

Professional career

Drafted 59th overall by the New York Rangers in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft, Silk signed a contract with the Rangers on March 3, 1980, days after the Olympic gold medal game. He spent the next three seasons as a Ranger, playing mostly at right wing and center. Silk realized a childhood dream when he was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1983[citation needed]. He was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Red Wings the following season. After becoming a free agent in 1985, Silk signed with the Winnipeg Jets, finished his NHL career, and moved on to Germany for the 1986–87 season.

Post playing career

Silk retired from hockey in 1991, returning to his alma mater Boston University where he served as the assistant men’s hockey coach for a couple of years.

Silk has been inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, United States Olympic Hall of Fame, Sports Illustrated, Sportsman of the Year, and also inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame (NHL + Amateur).

While attending Boston University Silk earned a Business degree and is part of the management team at Bear Stearns Investments in Boston. When asked if Silk still ties up the skates he said “I skate maybe once or twice a year for a charity event. I can’t say I miss it. I’m content. I’m good friends with former teammates Jack O’Callahan and also with Jack Hughes and Ralph Cox, who were the last two cuts from the team that year. The friendships, like I said, are the most important things for me to ever come out of my time in hockey” (Carroll).

Awards and accomplishments

  • NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team (1977, 1978)
  • ECAC Second All-Star Team (1978)

In popular culture

Rick Dano played Silk in the 1981 TV movie Miracle on Ice.

Bobby Hanson played him in the 2004 Disney film Miracle. Hanson played his college hockey at Boston University, where Silk, Jack O'Callahan, and Mike Eruzione had played. After college, Hanson played professional hockey in Europe, before a knee injury ended his career.[1]

References

  1. ^ Bobby Hanson biography at the Internet Movie Database http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1395553/bio

External links

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